Steps to making your adoption or fostering successful!

Bringing Home a new Doberman
 for the benefit of all rescued dogs

Adopting or fostering a Doberman is an act of genuine kindness: your new dog will forever be grateful to you for giving them a forever home. We want to set you up for success! Please read this carefully to ensure success in acclimating a new dog into your home. This is a period of trust-building, don’t scare or yell at the dog or try to force close contact. Watch your dog’s postures and expressions. Learn to read him. It may take several months for you to get to know your dog’s true nature. And don’t forget, your new dog is trying to do the same with you! Trust takes time!

Before You Bring Your Dog Home:

• Gather Needed Supplies and get them ready for the big day! Leash, Collar, ID Tag, Crate or Gates (if needed), Bed, Bowls, Food, Treats, Toys, Grooming Supplies, Waste Bags, Cleaner.

• Crates- Training your dog to be “Crate Trained” is the best thing you can do for your pet. Crates act as safe havens for dogs, like a den is for a wild canine. Crating your dog helps with potty training, prevents your home from being destroyed, and prevents your dog from being injured when you leave to run errands or go to work. When time for nap or bed time, they should never be taken out of the crate because they are whining or crying. This reinforces that they win by vocalizing displeasure. You will lose the role of “Master” or person in charge if you let them win! You may have to experience a few nights, even a week of intermittent crying, screaming by your new dog or puppy. It will get better! Always offer your dog a treat for going into their crate! Feeding in the crate associates the crate with a positive experience. Dogs should not be crated for long periods of time, puppies no longer then 4 hours maximum. If you work, you should consider doggy daycare or a pet sitter who can come and let your dog out every so often while you are gone. Once the dog can be trusted you can use the crate as a free will option for your dog to come and go as they please. Crates should never ever be used as punishment. For more useful info on crating go to the Humane Society’s website at

• Dog-Proof your house by looking for and removing hazardous items and valuable items that the dog could chew.

• Setup your house for the dog’s arrival. Determine where the dog’s crate, bed, and bowls will be placed. If you have another dog in the house, be mindful of your first dogs position in the pack. Do not bring a new dog into the home and let them have full run of the house!!

• Decide where food, treats, and supplies will be stored. Determine the house rules for the dog and make sure all family members know what they are.

• You need to decide what the new dog’s schedule will be for walks, play, training, feeding, and potty time and who will be responsible. Your new dog will not know who to go to, where to go potty, so establishing this over the next few days or weeks is important!

The First Day
• Determine ahead of time where the dog will ride on the way home. Crating the dog is the best option always when transporting, or use a canine seat belt.

• It’s best to have two people if possible; one to drive and the other to pay attention to the dog. Bring towels just in case the dog gets car sick. Make sure you have a nonslip collar, such as a martingale or choke collar. Your dog may be apprehensive and this is OK, should a scared dog get away in transport, it will be very difficult to catch! Do not take off leash until dog is home and safely in your house!

• Bring the dog straight home – try not to run errands on the way. Building a bond and getting them to know you are the most important tasks at hand.

• No welcome-home parties. Limit/discourage visitors for the first few days so that your new dog isn’t overwhelmed. Let them get to know who is living in the house. No guest dogs or pets either until they are established and comfortable in your home.

• When you arrive home let the dog sniff around the yard or outdoor area near your home on a leash. The sounds, sights and smells are all new to your dog and he or she may feel overwhelmed, scared, and apprehensive. Your new dog has lots to think about and take in with this new environment. Bring your dog to your designated potty spot and reward the dog with a treat for going there. Your new dog will not know where to go potty or who to tell and when to tell, as he has not established a routine yet. You may experience accidents if you do not keep dog close to you or crated at all times.

• Introduce your dog to your human family members outside, one at a time. Keep it calm and low-key. Let the dog be the one to approach, sniff and drive the interaction. Offering a treat can help the dog to associate family members with good things (food!). No hugging, kissing, picking up, staring at, fast moves, loud voices, yelling, screaming or patting on the top of the head during the initial introduction – these things can be scary for some dogs. Wait till the trust and bonding is established!

• Stay close to home initially. No major excursions. You need to learn your new dog’s behavior before you can predict how it will respond to different stimulus. Establish a walk routine in an area you are familiar with. Structured play in the yard is also a good form of exercise, bonding, and training. No tug of war with your new dog!

• Bring your dog into the house on a leash and give it a tour of the house. Try keeping the mood calm and relaxed and redirect any chewing or grabbing of objects with a “leave-it” and offering an appropriate toy. Do not let your dog roam freely in the home for a few days, or until you have a routine established. 

• Bring your new dog outside often. We cannot emphasize this enough! Dogs don’t generalize as well as we do, so even though your dog may have been house trained in its previous home, your dog needs to learn your house rules, which includes a house training refresher. Keeping your dog on a leash, showing it where to go and rewarding with treats will establish, who to tell I have to go potty, where I need to go potty, as these are things your dog will be clueless to when you bring it home. If this is not established you may experience accidents in the home as your new pal will not know who to tell or what the process for bathroom time is!

• Make sure your new dog gets ample “quiet time” so that your dog can acclimate to the new surroundings. Keeping your new dog crated or in a gated off area the first few days is very acceptable and may even be comforting to your dog. This gives them a chance to listen to all the sounds, inhale all the new smells and watch the activity of the household from a safe place. Your new dog is absorbing all this activity and really needs this quite time to adjust! Give him or her time to do just that, take it all in before demanding
too much of the new dog, and that includes interaction with the rest of the pets of the home. Be observant of the dog’s responses and go at the dog’s pace.

• If you have a resident dog(s), have the initial meeting outside (one dog at a time if you have several). The biggest mistake for new owners is to bring home a second dog and give it free roam of the house. Don’t do it! Go for a leashed walk immediately. Don’t rush it. Keep the leashes loose with no tension. Make sure they meet in a food-free, toy-free zone. Don’t leave them alone together for a few days until you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so. Watch and manage all interactions between the dogs initially and for the next couple weeks. When walking the dogs a different person should walk each dog if possible. In the home keep them separate for a few days with a baby gate or crate. Your current dog may feel threatened or jealous by the new canine. The new dog may feel scared and be extra protective of its space. Snarling and snarkiness is NORMAL if the dogs have not been properly introduced. Females will be extra snarly with males until they can trust them. To avoid fighting and negative interactions with two canines, DO NOT let the new dog have free roam, this takes a number of days! Make sure your current dog gets extra attention without the new dog present. Beware of petting or feeding your current dog in presence of new dog, this should always be done separately, with both new and old dogs, until you know how they will react to one another. Google resource guarding and jealousy in dogs. Do not let the new dog sit by you if the current dog is already in that spot, or pet the current dog in the presence of the new dog until you are comfortable with how the two dogs will interact. This can create problems between the two dogs, with fights that enforce jealousy if done incorrectly by humans. Dogs think differently in multiples and they have an order and hierarchy that humans need to respect and understand. They will make correction of the weakest link, or newcomer, if they feel the ranks are being disturbed. Make sure your interactions are separate until you are sure everyone will get along, and the new dog and old dog have accepted one another into the pack completely. In some cases the owner will need to always keep an eye on both dogs when the human interaction occurs, petting, snuggling, playing, ect. And beware that you are not creating the problem between the dogs! In time you will know how they will react to each other. Making sure the first few days goes smoothly for both dog, will set the stage for the old dog and new dogs relationship for the future. It is not uncommon for two dogs to get along without a human present, but throw in a human, or what they see as their “good thing” and they will seem like hateful enemies toward each other. This is instinctive, from the days of the wolves, and very natural for some canines so be aware! 
• If you have a resident cat(s), keep the cat secure behind gates or in another room until you know how the dog will react to it. Upon initial meeting most cat friendly dogs could see these new cats as “prey” to be chase and hunted. They do not know the cats “belong” and may instinctively try to chase them down or away. You need to establish ownership of the cats and let the new dog understand the cats belong to the “pack”. For some dogs this will take time. Use doors, gates, and leashes to prevent contact initially. Don’t give the dog the opportunity to chase the cat. Make sure the cat has escape options. Keep initial encounters brief. Manage all interactions. Keep a water bottle handy to squirt dog if he decides to give chase!

Establish Daily Routines

• Sleeping-Initially the crate or bed should be in the room you would like the dog to sleep in eventually. The area should be safe, dog-proofed, easily cleaned, cozy and quiet, with familiar scents. A radio with gentle music on when you are away is calming to the new dog. Beware of putting the new dog in your bedroom if you already have a dog that sleeps in your bedroom. Make sure your current dog is still King or Queen of this area, the new dog should remain as the second class canine in the den so you do not disrupt canine order, which can cause problems for the two dogs! Don’t put your new dog in an uninhabited area like the garage or basement. Canines are pack animals and need to be with the pack.

• Feeding-Check with your vet about what the recommended food and amounts should be for your dog based on breed, size, age, activity level, and health. We prefer a grain free food and food that does not have corn or fillers! See for food ratings. Feed two smaller meals per day rather than one large meal. Depending on the dog, free feeding may promote obesity. Remember an overweight dog will have a reduced life span. You may need to reduce the meal size to allow for treats during training. Make sure the dogs food dish is in a safe, out of the way area. Do not feed two dogs together until you are certain they will not fight, disagree, or bully the other to eat the others food.

• Walks – Keep the walks short at first (5-10 minutes) until you get to know your new dog’s behavior and how it responds to different stimuli. Keep to relatively quiet places at first. Avoid interaction with other dogs and unfamiliar people until you and your dog are comfortable.

• Chew Toys/Interactive Toys – Use of the crate and appropriate toys are great ways to keep your new dog out of trouble. Management of your dog and the environment prevents problem behaviors. Chew toys are a great way to direct your dog’s attention to appropriate toys, and away from objects that you don’t want your dog to destroy. Interactive toys help your dog to use its mind and tire them out, mentally. With a new dog, avoid rough and tumble, slapping, wrestling, and chase games when playing with your dog. Do not introduce toys, bones ect with the current dog and new dog until you are 100% sure they will not fight over the new toy. See resource guarding and jealousy! Toy recommendations: Kong or Planet Dog. As always you should monitor all play activity with toys. DO NOT ever leave your dog in its crate with toys. A lonely dog may destroy and ingest toy parts, causing a bowel obstruction and possibly death.

• Prevent separation anxiety – Use the crate, the “safe” place, when leaving for short periods and coming back several times a day, starting with your first day with your new dog. Don’t make a big fuss of coming or going. Offer treats for going into the crate to make it a positive experience.

Relationship Building

• Patience- Have patience with your new dog’s behavior, level of training, and the time it takes to establish a bond with you. Do not bring your dog home and start giving commands! Give your new dog time and space to adjust. Commit time the first few days to get to know your dog’s habits and personality, nothing more and do not demand much of your new friend! Bonding is the most important thing you can do the first week or so after adoption. Establish a routine for the dog and balance interaction and lots of down-time now is important.

• Training- physical and mental stimulation are necessary parts of your dog’s well-being and can be started after a few weeks of bonding and trusting. Dogs/Dobermans love to have a job and love to please their masters! Training helps your dog settle into a new home, teaches your dog how to fit in to a new family, who is in charge and strengthens the relationship between you and the dog. Make sure the children get a chance to feed the dog, walk the dog and train with the dog to establish the rule that little people are also leaders in the house. Once your dog has settled in and you are familiar with your dog’s responses, enroll your dog in obedience classes with your new pet.

Remember to manage your dog’s environment so that you set him up to succeed. Be proactive, not reactive. In other words, prevent inappropriate behavior from happening, and then you won’t have to correct it. No fence, get a fence. Shoes on the floor get chewed, put them away so they don’t! Counter surfer-remove food from the counters! Clothes eater, keep clothes picked up!

Accidents the first few days, keep the dog close to you, leashed, and offer bathroom breaks often! It is up to you to not let them make a mistake, hurt themselves or destroy something you cherish! If they do and you are not proactive, you cannot blame them, only yourself!

LAST!!! A tired dog is a good dog! Make sure your new pal is getting the appropriate amount of energy release, or they may find a destructive way, in your home to release that energy. Dobermans are high energy dogs that need lots of attention, training, and a job, with a committed master, to be wonderful forever companions!

Written 2015 by MCR

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